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Women Workers and the New Industries of the 1930s PDF Print E-mail

by Lesley Stevenson

The ‘new’ industries of assembly and light engineering of the 1930s employed women workers as an integral feature of a system of industrial relations. Trade union activity lagged far behind the self-organising initiatives of women themselves. Unions were even sometimes brought in by the employer to regulate the labour practices of the women, when workforces became uncontrollable. This was work with few rights and privileges, yet its very collectivism lent itself to spontaneous unionisation.

Women’s employment rights were hit by the retreat from the advances won during the First World War. “(I)n the subsequent period of depression and unemployment the Women's Sections … fell to pieces” noted the newly formed TGWU; a worry since "the lower the standard … the greater the danger to the male workers".1 Women’s trade unionism took a step back when the Women’s Trade Union League was absorbed by the TUC and a wave of mergers saw scores of specifically women's unions disappear.

By the late 1930s only 8,300 women in three unions were left separately affiliated to the TUC.2 In May 1927 the National Union of General and Municipal Workers (NUGMW) wound up its separate Women’s Department, the rump of the old National Federation of Women Workers (NFWW). Women organisers now worked directly for male district secretaries, not even being paid the same rate as men doing similar work.3 Militant and fluent women trade unionists were disenfranchised, just at the point when they were most needed.

Economic Crisis, Unemployment and Women

Popular opinion was that married women brought a second wage into the household, thus denying others of their fair share. In 1931 there were “20,000 unemployed Women in Birmingham of whom 12,000 (were) married”. An advisory sub-committee, representing employers and trade unions, recommended “in some cases limiting and in others destroying, the rights of married women to benefit”.4 Married unemployed woman were forced by law to meet more stringent terms to get benefits than single women or men, reducing the number of women registered as unemployed dramatically. Five industries accounted for nearly half the insured unemployed and the state compulsorily transferred labour from areas of mass unemployment into the new industries.5

Labour, especially female labour, was in effect conscripted for the benefit of capital. As Mary Carlin, women’s officer of the TGWU remarked, this “tended to place the transferee under an obligation to the employer with a consequent loss of freedom whilst the facilities offered by the Ministry (of Labour) tend to benefit employers in the manner of a subsidy.”6 An official report in 1934 noted that there was a “steadily increasing demand for girl labour in certain types of light engineering … with the aid of grants”.7 In January 1932, unemployment in the general engineering, iron and steel sector was 28.1% but only 17.6% in electrical engineering; by July 1934 the latter was down to 7.4%.8

Contrary to myth, there were always large sections of the adult female labour force that depended upon their own wages. One in six women did not marry at all during the inter-war period, especially in the aftermath of the 1914-18 war, when so many young men died. The best-known example of married women working had been in the North-West of England, but now “the practice was also common in the expanding new industries in London and the South East”. Between 1923 and 1938 nearly 650,000 more women entered insured jobs, a growth of 24%.9

New technology enabled the average time taken to machine the same engine-bearing bolt fall from 28 minutes in 1900 to 7.7 minutes in 193010 and semi-skilled workers almost trebled in number.11 Domestic manufacture of consumer commodities expanded rapidly and women constituted the main workforce in electrical engineering, which grew from 15.4% of all engineering workers in 1924 to 22.5% by 1935.12 Women accounted for 70% of the operatives in the biscuit industry, which saw a doubling of production during the inter-war period.13

Companies that could mechanise and produce goods for the home market were able to survive, those that could not do so failed. As capital was concentrated, so was labour; by 1935 nearly half of the labour force was to be found in firms employing over 500 workers. Employers deliberately sought greenfield sites, with plentiful female labour and no trade union tradition. Morphy Richards, with around 75% female labour, first recruited seasonal hop and fruit pickers; Hoover was built in the midst of fields on the outskirts of London. West Middlesex was a favoured region, well away from the influences of the class-conscious East End of London.
Unemployment in 1934 in Coventry was only 5% and subsequent rearmament further tightened up the labour market. “Employers, especially in engineering, began to compete for any available labour.”14 1.6% of the city’s working women were in electrical apparatus manufacture in 1921 and this nearly trebled by 1939. GEC became the largest single employer of women in the city and a model for employers of women in the latter part of the 20th century.15

Women’s supposed aptitude for repetitive work seemingly reflected their ‘natural’ passivity and obedience. But women either stuck it out on the assembly line or left, leaving those who would tolerate it to prove the point. The pace of production could be speeded up at will and ‘team spirit’ used to discipline, since failing to keep up the pace lost everyone bonus. One worker reported on intensification in the textile industry that, even after a 6.30 am start, it was “not at all unusual to see young girls leaving factories at 6.45 or 7 p.m. – a state of affairs entirely unknown twenty years ago”.16

The labour movement was generally deeply committed to a policy of supporting the ‘family wage’. The Lancashire Weavers Union was one of the few which did not subscribe to this notion: “Low weavers wages had always meant the necessity of at least two members of the family going out to work”. The alternative argument was put by the employers that the long-resisted introduction of automatic looms could enable the payment of a higher wage so that “crudely put, women could stay at home and just the men would go out to work”.17

The National Union of Lock and Metal Workers kept to the generally held view. Membership had dropped from 2,800 in 1920 to 1,800 in 1933 when the union “decided to try and do something in regards to females who are encroaching upon industry in numbers”. In 1935, 180 women were employed assembling locks and latches in Wolverhampton and Willenhall, whilst 281 men were unemployed, although most of the women were single and on pay that assumed a family wage.18
When the London County Council Staff Association held a referendum of its members in 1935-6 on abolishing the bar on employing married women, two thirds voted in favour of its retention. But, of the women who voted, three-fifths wanted the bar lifted. In the end, the LCC began employing married women only because the drift to the suburbs was increasingly affecting its ability to retain qualified labour. Peak Frean's biscuit factories operated a strict marriage bar but, from 1933, the firm invited married women back on a temporary basis to cover seasonal rushes. This unusual practice, hints at later, gendered strategies of ‘flexible working’. The Standing Committee of Industrial Women's Organisations assessed in 1934-5 that “public opinion on this matter is moving”, companies that had followed popular feeling after the armistice “have since lifted the ban”.19

Skill gender apartheid was rigid: “girls entering a woollen spinning department … start as piercers or doffers but they have no prospect of qualifying as woollen spinners, (which) is monopolised by men”.20 Any training, which was available for women, was almost exclusively for domestic work. Outside of domestic work, women were considered to be old to work if they were over thirty.

Young women were becoming a substitute for men. One third of the food-processing workers of a factory of about 10,000 were under 18 years of age, mostly female; “all married women are sacked and men have almost wholly been replaced by women”. Electrical engineering was not only reliant upon women, it was a youth industry with more than half of the labour below 21 years and even the union-agreed wages were very low. “Bolts, nuts, screws, rivets, nails, (were) now made completely by machinery worked by women, girls and boys”.21 Complaints over the unyielding use of the conveyor belt were common. In one clothing factory, employing “500 girls ... the system was so speeded and so exhausting that the manager was forced to allow ten minutes' rest every hour. The ages of the girls working on the machine were about 15 to 16”.22

The TGWU in 1939 evoked the popular, received wisdom on women, they “have been found particularly suitable ... in the assembling of radio sets, where the smallness of their hands in comparison with of men gives them an unquestionable advantage in dexterity”. Yet women considered assembly-line jobs as ‘plum’ jobs; pay and benefits were generally much higher than in women's work in general. Even so, there was a real sense of injustice at the disparity with men's earnings: “women receive less than the men (on nights) for doing the same work, and the only reason the men are employed at all is that night work for women is prohibited”.23

The Official Trade Union Response

Under some pressure, the TUC gradually agreed to transform its women’s activities. In 1932, the TUC appointed a full-time organiser for its Women’s Advisory Committee, Nancy Adam. She had some big obstacles to overcome. Leytonstone NUR branch wrote that married women were “a direct menace to the economic and moral conditions of single women”.24 As the TUC’s National Women’s Advisory observed in 1936, “there is still a tendency to regard the wages earned by women at the worst rather in the nature of pin money, and at the best merely as a contribution to the running of the household”.25 Somewhat late in the day, in 1937, the TUC noted: “Over 300,000 women are employed in (the new) industries and the Women’s Advisory Committee are seeking the help of trades councils, particularly in the Midlands, to try to improve trade union organisation”.26

Young women expected only to keep a few shillings for person items, their wages being an essential part of the family budget; yet employers justified low wages since they lived at home with their parents. The TUC launched a letter campaign, urging parents to ensure their daughters as well as their sons were unionised. Interestingly, the Scottish TUC Women’s Advisory Committee did not accept the argument that women would drop their membership on marriage “as self-evident and insoluble”.27

But there was a distinct rise in women’s membership of trade unions all through the 1930s, mostly in already unionised workplaces. The TGWU’s 5/325 branch, at the massive Long Eaton artificial fibre plant of British Celanese, began to make major recruitment gains in 1934. In the five weeks to November 17th, three hundred members were made, taking the total to a thousand. The branch secretary, Miss E Weaver, drew attention to the fact that “wherever they had organised sections of the women the wages paid in those departments were very much in advance of those departments where the women were not organised”.28 A quarter of new members made from June 1936 to June 1937 in the TGWU’s Derby District were women.29 Nationally, the TGWU claimed a round figure of 18,000 women in 1931, within seven years this had risen to 28,481.

The annual contest for the TUC Women’s Gold Badge in 1935 showed that these women were lively activists. Mrs Edith Mitchell of the National Association of Theatrical Employees was the secretary for several hundred strong Blackpool branch. Jessie Murray, the TGWU nominee, the first woman to sit on a trade group committee in Scotland, “used to go to the work gate in her dinner hour to talk to women”. Another nominee, in the bookbinding industry, secured 390 members by “personal visitation to their homes”. A fourth was “very outspoken in a deputation to the Managing Director... conditions were improved by 75%” at Harben’s Silk Manufacturers and membership of the Textile Workers went from 200 to 1,300 out of 1,400 operatives. Mrs Shawl took membership of 20 “out of a factory of 700 girls” to 300, after leading a deputation of 50 which “so impressed the employer that he withdrew the (wage) cut altogether”.30

Membership of the Tailor and Garment Workers’ Union more than doubled between 1931 and 1938.31 In Wellingborough, 2,000 women in eight factories were unionised.32 In the wholesale clothing sector, a wage claim in 1936 focused on “the rate … adult female workers … in force since 1925”. Only the female learner’s rate was increased “having regard to the … difficulty of attracting learners to the Industry”.33

Women were badly paid in engineering, the average wage in 1931 being about half that for men. The AEU only first supported equal pay in 1935 and didn’t allow women into membership until the war. The National Society of Metal Mechanics had long resisted female labour and did not admit women into membership until 1959! The big general unions had a free hand, apart from some “desultory opposition from the NUVB in car trim shops”. But the results were not initially impressive, “in 1935, two per cent of the women in engineering were in unions, and by 1940 this had only increased to six per cent”.34 Most unionised women, at this stage, were in the NUGMW, but it was so uninterested in them that, in 1937, it did not even know how many women members it had.35

An insight into the experience of women in the engineering industry is provided by the handwritten minutes of the Renold and Coventry Chain Shop Stewards Committee, which begin in 1936. Women’s representation in a factory where they formed 50% of the labour was marginal. Of the seven shops, two were dominated by women. Only one of the shops provided a steward and she left within months, having repeatedly raised the poor toilet facilities and the authoritarian manner of the works nurse to no avail.

Some women refused to work overtime on March 12th 1937, “following a refusal by the Superintendent for increased pay for overtime. Two of the girls have been discharged … for not carrying on with their work”. But the Committee decided that “the Girls had acted contrary to our agreement and no action could be taken”.36 Only by May 1937 was a woman representative and a deputy elected. A number of wage increases were agreed nationally for women but the men sought local increments to maintain differentials. Miss Long, the woman steward, began raising the issue of compulsory overtime. Married women were not being allowed off overtime on Fridays. One woman was refused absence to attend her sick mother. The company told her to resign but this was softened to an agreement to take her back with continuous service when she was ready.37

Women's trade union membership increased from 0.7 m in 1933 to 1 million in 1939, yet this seemed almost despite the efforts of the unions. The NUGMWU increased its female membership from 19,000 to 45,000 in 1937.38 By 1939, women’s trades’ unionism had made good the losses sustained after 1921 and things would never again be quite the same. Yet, most women in work were in private domestic service, notoriously very difficult to organise. This was not seriously attempted until delegates at what was effectively the first TUC Women’s Conference in 1931, pressed for concerted recruitment activity to organise what was actually a fifth of the female labour force. But the NUGMW and the TGWU were opposed to this, feeling that they would be spending money for another organisation to benefit from.

Some NUGMW women officials worked with the Hampstead Trades Council to set up a Domestic Worker’s Guild in 1932. It was standard TUC policy not to establish unions but merely to accept into affiliation those that workers had themselves set up. However, under pressure from the Women’s Advisory Committee, the TUC formed the National Union of Domestic Workers in 1937 in a blaze of publicity. (With the effective disappearance of paid domestic labour, the NUDW was wound up in May 1953 and the members transferred to the NUGMW.)39

The new industries offered the real challenge to trade unionism. The TUC sent a survey to every trades council, seeking the numbers employed and the wages paid.40 But official opinion was that the lack of a tradition “comparable with that prevalent in the mining, railway and cotton industries, is a serious obstacle … Time alone will not overcome this …”41 The TUC was obsessed with glamorous leaflets, extolling beauty and fashion as the means to communicate with the mass of women. Thousands of leaflets and pamphlets went out in 1933, a week long Pageant of Labour for women was held at the Crystal Palace in 1934, a million leaflets and 5,000 posters for Trades Councils in 1936 and a report on the BBC of the Women's Conference were key highlights of the campaign.

After 1934 when trade union membership began to rise, “special efforts to organize women appeared less necessary to union leaders”. The average number attending the annual conferences of unions catering for women was 50 from 1931-5, but 15 of these were men.42 Whilst some unions set up Women’s Guilds, these were seen as – even called – Auxiliaries, to help the men. Mary Carlin admitted that the TGWU Guild was a means of securing the membership of the members’ children.43

The TUC’s survey of trades councils on the progress of setting up women's committees revealed a good deal of despondency. Coventry reported “apathy... it is the opinion that the removal of Miss Arnold (who had come into the TGWU with the takeover of the Workers Union) has had some (adverse) effect”. Bevin had made a decision that women did not feature in his expansion plans.44 In Birmingham, it was felt nothing could be done, in West Bromwich, there was "poor support", Wolverhampton thought branches were “slow to move, mainly owing to the lack of women members”.45

The TUC noted the “tendency of modern machinery to simplify methods of production (and) with alarm the increasing numbers of women and young persons performing work formerly done by men and by so doing lowering the rates of wages of all workers”.46 At no stage did mainstream unionism consider that it was its job to organise non-union women faced with speed-up and exploitation. When the Chester and District Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions raised a problem with Brookhurst Switchgear, the TUC decided to “pass (it) on to the union concerned”.47 Women in the new industries were left to their own devices and found allies to assist them.

Women Fight Back

The official trade union movement refusal to unionise the new industries was in contrast to the crusade launched in the USA by the Congress of Industrial Organizations. In Britain, “it was the rank-and-file movement, not infrequently led by Communists, which led to the ‘capture’ of new factories ... At a number of key factories it was Communists who led the drive for organization, notably at Firestone Tyres and other factories on London’s Great West Road, at Fords’ at Dagenham, Pressed Steel at Oxford, and Lucas in Birmingham”.48

Women’s official structures of the unions had become part of the trade union establishment, there was a big gulf between them and working women. The Daily Worker women’s editor proudly compared the efforts of the Communist Party with the ineffectiveness of the TUC’s response. There was the successful “communist efforts at a West Bromwich washer manufacturer, Hope’s Metal Window factory at Smethwick, the Mullard Radio Factory in London, Unigar Factory and the Joseph Lucas (Birmingham) Motor Accessories Plant in 1932”.49

The CP singled out the ‘new management technique’ of the Bedaux system, which was sweeping industry in Britain, as the main target for anti-capitalist resistance. The Party had already been at the forefront of the resistance of women wage cuts in wool manufacture. The first ever copy of the Daily Worker in January 1930 ran the headline: “Woollen workers take the field”. It was the start of a ten-week unofficial strike against a 10% wage reduction. Isabel Brown, the Party’s Women’s Organiser, mobilised a crowd of 2,000 in Shipley Market Place. She was charged with striking a policeman and ten people were arrested. Not one person could be found to testify to the police version of events but Brown was fined £2. Nonetheless, victory of sorts was attained, since the authorities were forced to overspend more than £57,000 than it was legally entitled to do on relief by the mass action.50

The CP had prioritised the struggle from 1928 to 1930 over the “More Looms System” amongst cotton weavers, especially in the 16,000 strong Nelson Weavers Association. Communists, Bessie and Harold Dickinson, were prominent in this campaign and found themselves in prison for 3 months each, Harold on two occasions. An agreement was eventually concluded in 1931, only after a lockout. Women weavers were displaced and given either ancillary jobs that were created by the new system, or work in the doubling mill, both of which paid less.51

In May 1931, the TGWU acquired some members at Courtaulds after a spontaneous show of action on wages. The Birmingham District of the CP produced a broadsheet “The Working Woman “which linked up struggles in Wolverhampton and Coventry of Courtaulds workers. They had advised “the setting up of Rank and File Strike Committees to resist reductions and at Wolverhampton to demand increased wages to the Coventry level which is 1/4d a day more. The Women Workers are showing a fine spirit!”52 In 1935, when a group bonus scheme was introduced, the first major strike in the company’s history happened. In Coventry, 3,000 came out and “the TGWU was called in (by the management!) and eventually the strike was settled on terms more favourable to management”.

The TGWU did not obtain recognition until after another strike in 1937 over a failure to give a wage rise. Courtauld’s policy of paying higher wages to keep out unions was in tatters, but it had been the autonomous organisation of women that shattered it. As one women recalled, “we did it ourselves”.53
Post Office telephonists were a new force for struggle; discipline was harsh, supervisors policed the lines continually watching for slackness. To be only a little late too often resulted in the punishment of a month of late duties. Many looked upon marriage as an “escape from the nerve wracking atmosphere”. Then, unilaterally, telephonists - all “girls” – had their hours extended to 11pm. The union (UPOW) leadership accepted this but rank and file opposition grew. Peter Zinkin edited ‘Postal Forward’, the monthly journal of the CP postal workers’ branch. (At the time to be a member of the Communist Party brought automatic dismissal from the Post Office.)54 Although there was a high percentage of women workers in the UPOW, the union officially was in favour of the marriage bar and in 1935 even called for the end to female employment altogether.55

But it was Birmingham that saw one of the most influential struggles by women, aided by Communist militancy. The week long women’s strike in Lucas in early 1932 may even have only broke out because “there was no union to damp down their activities and their protest was more like the rumbustious outbreaks of the nineteenth century ... left to themselves they had spirit enough”.56 The speeded-up production techniques were so severe that many “collapsed from the strain”. One worker said her husband “might as well have a wooden woman. We're that tired by the end of the evening we're fit for nothing.”57 Most of the workers were young girls whose fathers and brothers were out of work. “They were the breadwinners and you can understand they needed some nerve to come out on strike”.58

Mass solidarity was their defence; the main instigator, Jesse Eden, later a life-long Communist, went to the TGWU, whose officials “looked at me amazed when I brought the application forms filled up”. Eventually, a strike of 10,000 women ensured a climb down.59 The sheer collectivity of the labour process enabled the critical mass of numbers of women to successfully rebel. In contrast, when Betty Kane, another life-long Communist, joined the small Moore and Wrights' engineering factory in Sheffield in 1937, there was only one other woman out of some 200 who was also in a union. Attempting to recruit was always difficult: “You had to do it secretly, you know go and put leaflets into the canteen while they weren't looking, to organise … We'd got a group in the factory, only about 20 in the (TGWU)… And I got the sack”.60

An Altered Course?

A new beginning for women’s trades unionism came out of this agitation. In the same way that craft manufacture represented a distinct stage in economic development, so did assembly line production. This system was dominant from the 1930s until newer forms, centred upon computer-aided processes began to take over from the 1970s. Each stage moulded industrial relations in its own way.

The 1930s resulted in working women gaining enough experience in organising to take advantage of wartime developments. By 1939, a quarter of munitions workers were already women and within three years the number of women thus employed had risen by 150%. One significant long-term effect was that, unlike 1918, not only were there now more women in unions, but such women were now committed to a permanent role. Another was that the very progress of the war in Britain, as distinct from Germany, was affected, in that the refusal of Nazi ideology to accept women in work fundamentally flawed its productive capacity, forced Germany to rely on slave labour and arguably changed the very course of history.

1. TGWU Third Annual Report 31st December 1924 p 32
2. Barbara Drake in GDH Cole "British Trade Unionism Today" Methuen (1945) p 250
3. Sheila Lewenhak “Women & Trade Unions” (1977) Ernest Benn Ltd p p195, 224
4. "The Working Woman" - Birmingham CPGB leaflet, May 1931
5. B Eichengreen “Unemployment in Interwar Britain" in Digby, Feinstein and Jenkins (Eds): "New Directions in Economic and Social History Vol II 1992 MacMillan p116
6. Sheila Lewenhak “Women & Trade Unions” (1977) Ernest Benn Ltd. p231
7. John Gollan “Youth in British History” (1937) Victor Gollancz Ltd p173 
8. TUC file MSS292/615.2(1) Engineering Industry, 1934-1936; document entitled: "Proceedings at a special conference between the Engineering and Allied Employers National Federation and Various Trade Unions" 19th December 1934, "Wages and Working Conditions Statement by the Trade Unions"
9. Miriam Glucksmann “Women Assemble” (1980) Routledge pp 42, 45, 40
10. J B Jeffries “The Story of the Engineers” (1945) Lawrence & Wishart p207
11. N Branson and M Heinemann "Britain in the Nineteen Thirties (1971) Weidenfield and Nicolson pp113
12. J B Jeffries “The Story of the Engineers” (1945) Lawrence & Wishart p198
13. Miriam Glucksmann “Women Assemble” (1980) Routledge pp3-4
14. Josie Castle "Factory Work for Women: Courtaulds and GEC between the Wars." in "Life and Labour in a 20th century City" Ed Bill Lancaster and Tony Mason, Cryfield Press, (no date) Centre for the Study of Social History, University of Warwick p147
15. Josie Castle "Factory Work for Women: Courtaulds and GEC between the Wars." in "Life and Labour in a 20th century City" Ed Bill Lancaster and Tony Mason, Cryfield Press, (no date) Centre for the Study of Social History, University of Warwick pp134-5
16. John Gollan "Youth in British industry" Victor Gollancz (1937) p45
17. Andrew Bullen "The Lancashire Weavers Union- a commemorative history” (1984) Amalgamated Textile Workers Union p53
18. Brian Stenner "The Lockmakers - a Century of Trades Unionism in the Lock and Safe Trade 1889-1989" Malthouse Press (1989) pp77, 81
19. Deirdre Beddoe ”Back to Home and Duty: Women Between the Wars, 1918-1939” Pandora. (1989) p26]; TUC (no date) file MSS292/134 Standing Committee of Industrial Women's Organisations "Married Women" - in Women in Industry 1926-63 MRC University of Warwick
20. John Gollan "Youth in British industry" Victor Gollancz (1937) p43
21. John Gollan "Youth in British industry" Victor Gollancz (1937) pp 102, 73, 77, 46
22. John Gollan "Youth in British industry" Victor Gollancz (1937) pp 107-8
23. TGWU "The Union, its work and problems" TGWU (1939) Part VI pp2-4
24. TUC File MSS 292/134.1 Modern Records Centre University of Warwick
25. TUC file NACWO minutes 13.1.36 MSS 292/60/16]
26. TUC “Report of Proceedings at the 69th Annual Trades Union Congress" (1937) p100
27. Angela Tuckett "The Scottish Trade Union Congress - 1987-1977", Mainstream Publishing 1986 p272
28. TGWU Record December 1934
29. TGWU Derby District Committee minutes June 12th 1937 Derby Library Local Studies Department
30. TUC file MSS292/65/11/1 "Women's Gold Badge" (1935) MRC University of Warwick
31. TUC NACWO 12th Jan 1939, "Survey of Women's Membership 1931-38" TUC Files Modern Records 292/60/1b "Organisation of Women - Correspondence etc” 1927-60 MRC University of Warwick
32. John Gorman “To Build Jerusalem: A Photographic Remembrance of British Working Class Life 1875-1950” Scorpion Publications (1980) p165
33. Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers Federation of Great Britain 14th May 1936, 26th June 1936; MSS 222 Refs 117/36-5, t.86/36-W pp10-11 MRC University of Warwick
34. Richard Croucher "Engineers at War 1939-45" Merlin Press (1982) p61
35. Sylvia Walby “Patriarchy at Work” (1986) Polity Press p184-5
36. Coventry & Reynold’s Chain Shop Stewards' Committee minutes book 1936-80, March 18th 1937 file MSS 249 MRC University of Warwick.
37. Coventry & Reynold’s Chain Shop Stewards' Committee minutes book 1936-80, November 11th 1938 file MSS 249 MRC University of Warwick.
38. Barbara Drake "Women in Trade Unions" in GDH Cole "British Trade Unionism Today" Methuen (1945) p249
39. Paul Martin "Trade Union Badge Collectors News" October 1992 No35
40. TUC NAC minutes 1921-34 10.3.33 TUC file MSS292/61/5/1. MRC University of Warwick
41. John Parker "Trade Union Difficulties in New Areas" in GDH Cole "British Trade Unionism Today" Methuen (1945) p241-2
42. TUC file MSS292/62/14/1 Annual Conference of Unions Catering for Women Workers 1931-60 - 6th annual report of the NAC 1.2.1936
43. TUC file MSS292/61/5/2 NACWO minutes 1934-40 - May 16th 1930 MRC University of Warwick
44. Josie Castle "Factory Work for Women: Courtaulds and GEC between the Wars." in "Life and Labour in a 20th century City" Ed Bill Lancaster and Tony Mason, Cryfield Press, (no date) Centre for the Study of Social History, University of Warwick p163
45. TUC (1932) file MSS292/60/3 “Summary of reports given by Trades Councils on the setting up of local women's committees” MRC University of Warwick
46. TUC file MSS292/62/14/1 ACUCWW January 1931
47. TUC file MSS292/61/5/1 NACWO minutes 1921-34 Minutes February 10th 1933 MRC University of Warwick
48. N Branson and M Heinemann "Britain in the Nineteen Thirties (1971) Weidenfield and Nicolson pp110-111
49. Norbert C Soldon “Women in British Trade Unions 1874-(1976)” Gill & Macmillan p140
50. May Hill "Red Roses for Isabel" (1982) Preston Community Press pp31-41
51. Alan and Lesley Fowler "The History of the Nelson Weavers Association Burnley, Nelson, Rossendale and District Textile Workers Union 1984 pp 120,56,65
52. CPGB leaflet May 1931
53. Josie Castle (No Date) "Factory Work for Women: Courtaulds & GEC between the Wars", in B Lancaster and T Mason (eds) Life and Labour in a 20th Century City: The Experience of Coventry. Cryfield Press, University of Warwick pp 158, 161, 147, 163
54. Peter Zinkin "A man to be watched carefully" (1985) People's Publications pp103-4
55. Mary Davis "Comrade or Brother? The history of the British Labour Movement 1789-1951" (1993) Pluto Press p168
56. Sheila Lewenhak “ Women & Trade Unions” (1977) Ernest Benn Ltd. p213
57. Deirdre Beddoe ”Back to Home and Duty: Women Between the Wars, 1918-1939” Pandora (1989) p69
58. R A Leeson “Strike: A Live History 1887-1971” (1973) Allen & Unwin pp129-130
59. Miriam Glucksmann “Women Assemble” (1980) Routledge pp191-2
60. Ed Frank Watters “No wonder we were rebels - an oral history of Jock and Betty Kane” Armthorpe NUM (1994) p75
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